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The Strat’s custom club ready for the funny

Updated January 29, 2022 - 8:28 am

The Kats! Bureau at this writing is Robert Irvine’s Public House at the Tropicana. We are on Laugh Factory duty, catching up with Jon Lovitz, back for his recurring residency series at the comedy club.

This is Lovitz’s first appearance in Vegas since the death of his friend and foil Bob Saget, the subject of a barbed musical number Lovitz has used to close the show. We will find out if that bit has been put away, or will live on as a tribute.

More from this scene, and elsewhere.

A Dragon lair

L.A. Comedy Club’s Dragon Room at the Strat has completed its move to the casino floor. The relocated club is next to McCall’s Heartland Grill. I checked the place out Saturday night . It’s pretty, great sight lines, sharp images of such greats as George Carlin and Richard Pryor in the lobby. Bar near the entrance. Has that new-comedy fragrance.

The custom-built showroom adds more than 100 seats, now at a 27o capacity. A dedicated curtain can cut the capacity to 120, depending on the night. Acoustic panels heighten the sound quality.

“With this new space, we had a blank canvas to create the ultimate comedy club for guests and comics to laugh and party,” L.A. Comedy Club producer Joaquin Trujillo said in a statement. “We took the best from all of the locations we have operated over the years and brought them together to create a place where you can not only see incredible comics perform, but also party with your friends.”

The formal opening is Feb. 10, but the club is staging shows now. The club presents three shows nightly, at 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Touring comedians headline the 8 p.m. shows. The current roster is Shang from Monday to Feb. 6; JC Currais from Feb. 7-Feb. 13; Mike Merryfield from Feb. 14-Feb. 20; Trixx from Monday, Feb. 21-Feb. 27; Willie Fratto Farrell from Feb. 28-Mar. 6.

James Michael’s “Redneck Comedy Show” is daily at 6 p.m. The daily 10 p.m. show stars Butch Bradley from Thursdays through Mondays, and Bret Ernst on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

“Angel” ascends

The proven Broadway writing team of Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor showcase “Angel of Arkansas” at 2 p.m. Sunday at Notoriety Live. The musical is based on the life of Ruth Coker Burks, whose nickname is the show’s title. The story is set in rural Arkansas in 1986, with Coker’s life turned over by the growing AIDS/HIV epidemic. Burks was a caregiver, advocate, activist, pharmacist and undertaker to thousands of young men at the peak of the AIDS crisis.

Ruby Lewis, of “Baz” at Light at Mandalay Bay and “Paramour” on Broadway, plays the lead role. Brent Barrett (“Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular” at The Venetian and “Chicago” on Broadway and on tour), Noah Rivera (“Wicked,” “In the Heights,” “Shrek the Musical,” Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons); and Todd DuBail (“Jersey Boys,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Grease” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” head up the stellar cast.

Oberacker and Taylor conceived “Bandstand” in Las Vegas, sending the musical to a 166-performance run at Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, closing in September 2017. The show snared a Tony Award for Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography.

Oberacker and Taylor also wrote “The Sandman,” which debuted at Majestic Repertory Theatre over the holiday season. Oberacker has been performing numbers from “Bruce,” the story of the creation of the movie “Jaws,” at the Composers Showcase of Las Vegas for the past three years or so.

Oberacker, whose regular gig is music director of “Ka” at MGM Grand, says, “It’s sort of become a thing to be able to offer Las Vegas the exclusive first look at our new work, an insider sneak peek before anyone else in the country.”

Philharmonic ED out

Las Vegas Philharmonic has “parted ways,” as a news release informs, Executive Director Anne Berquist, effective immediately. Berquist joined the company in May. No other information available. Spokeswoman Michele Madole says the organization plans to issue a statement this week.

Great Moments in Social Media

Lady Gaga tribute artist Tierney Allen visited Joanne Trattoria in Manhattan over the weekend when she was performing a private event. Allen had wanted to visit the Germanotta family restaurant since it opened in 2012. She left a personal note to Gaga’s father, Joe Germanotta. The visit plays out @VegasLadyGaga, and catch Allen’s act in “Legendary Divas” at the Tropicana, opening Feb. 2.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.